color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy

Pure Beauty

This past week, Brook and I were fortunate enough to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth with our very own eyes.  Every 6 months or so, the organization we are working with affords its workers up to 2 weeks of leave time to rest, recharge, and prepare for the next round ahead.  Since we’ve been here nearly that long already, it was time for us to take our break, and where better to go than to the beach!

Thailand is known for having some of the most beautiful panoramas, brilliant sunsets, and excellent underwater sporting in the world.  We were blessed with some wonderful gifts from home to add to the money we’d already been saving ourselves for this short holiday, and as soon as we knew we had enough, we knew precisely where we wanted to go – Krabi.  Virtually every picture you see of Southern Thailand’s beaches, soaring cliffs, and spectacular sunsets come from Krabi and it’s surrounding islands (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Kai, etc.)… but, this time we were lucky enough to witness these scenes ourselves.

Sometimes, you don’t really know how badly you need a break until you’re finally there, and boy did we need a break.  Our bodies and minds had all but shut down by the end of our visa run in Malaysia (immediately prior to our week of holiday).  How wonderful it was when we finally arrived at Ao Nang and started thinking of the week we had ahead of us!  Now, some of you may already know a bit of what we did, how we enjoyed what was around us, as well as a few of the “adventures” we had along the way, but for those of you who don’t, I’m going to lay it out in bullet form for you.  Ready?  Ok.

  • First afternoon, we arrived at our hotel in Ao Nang to find out we’d been given a complimentary room upgrade, and were very pleased with it.  Staying 10-15 minutes walking distance from the beach and using online pricing services allowed us to stay comfortably for quite cheap already, so this was a wonderful bonus!  Later, we enjoyed some great grilled chicken on the beach about a 20 minute walk down the road from our hotel.
  • First full day was spent doing absolutely nothing at all on West Railay Beach.  Not far from Ao Nang, West Railay is a beautiful stretch of sand that is surrounded on 3 sides by sheer cliffs and jungle, making it accessible only by longtail boat.  Pure bliss.
  • Day 2 we decided to hop on an all day tour of islands, famous bays, and hit a few snorkeling spots.  The fish were incredible, and the water was unbelievably clear.  We stopped at a couple of famous movie locations as well – the first was Phang Nga, known unofficially as “James Bond Bay,” as the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun was shot there, and the other was Maya Bay where Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Beach was made.
  • The sand at Maya Bay was like baby powder, so white, so soft, so clean… and so deceptive.  Why?  It was here, in perhaps the most beautiful place I will ever visit in my life, that I kicked a tree root hidden in the sand, split my toe open, and lost an entire nail.  Ha!
  • Days 3 & 4 were spent with me hugging the throne in our beautiful hotel bathroom.  Lucky me, I got a violent case of food poisoning (most likely from lunch on the tour the previous day), and was forced to stay inside while Brook was a good sport and took care of me.  We made a visit to a local doctor as soon as I was able to leave the room, and he filled me up with enough meds to get me better, back out to the beach and finally eating again.  Oh, and he cleaned about a pound of sand out of my busted toe, too.  But, the upside to all of this?  At least the bathroom I had to live in was 100 times nicer than the one we have in Lopburi, and it had a bathtub to relax my sick self in.  Good deal.
  • Day 5 was back to Railay, lots of water and meds in hand, for another day of blissful nothingness.  I think we played about 3 hours of frisbee out in the water, not kidding.  It felt good to be back out in the sunshine relaxing, laughing, and having some fun with the Mr.
  • Day 6 we took it easy in the morning and headed out for a sunset snorkel tour around 2pm.  This trip was far more relaxed and had much fewer people than the tour earlier in the week.  We jumped out in 3 different locations, very protected from the other tourist areas, so each was filled with colorful coral and vegetation and some of the most brilliantly hued sea creatures I have ever seen.  I even found Nemo!  One stop also had a cave where Brook, the experienced Scuba diver, guided me along and took me far under the water to see the giant schools of fish and sea urchins below.  I don’t think the snorkeling would have been quite as amazing as it was, had he not encouraged me to go under the water and go outside of what I though I could do.
  • After several snorkel stops, sunset on a tiny uninhabited island, and delicious Thai green curry for supper with new friends, it was time for the bioluminecsence swim.  We were taken to another sandy-bottomed, protected area under some cliff overhangs after it had become completely dark.  Upon jumping in the water, we were instantly surrounded by tiny flickering blue orbs of light.  It was incredible!  (If you’ve seen the movie Avatar, think of how the jungle lit up at night.)  With every movement I made, thousands of these tiny blue sparkles (actually a species of plankton) appeared in the dark ocean water surrounding me.  It was almost as if I was wearing them.  Even more incredible was when I put on my mask, and looked down into the blackness below and saw my legs glowing.  (And yes, for a brief moment I pretended I was Ariel when she was turning from a mermaid into a human… and that is still my favorite Disney cartoon!)
  • Our last morning, we slept in, packed up, and took our last chance to sit and chat with the Thai staff at our hotel.  They were more than accommodating to us and took great care to check in on me when I was ill.  It’s amazing to see what knowing how to speak Thai and actually interact with people can do when you travel.

So, there you have it.  Our week of rest was wonderful, even despite my little speedbumps.  We both were able to get a great deal of rest, as well as spend some time just enjoying one another again.  Between all the stresses of language learning, support budgeting, daily cultural adjustments, the busy holidays/ministry season that just passed, and all else, it’s easy to lose each other in all that mess.  This was kind of the honeymoon we wished we’d been able to have a few years ago, and I am ever so thankful for it.

Now, back to daily life.  Back to language study.  Back to learning how to live our lives here in Thailand.  And soon, it’s time to travel again!

Here’s some shots from my Flickr of our trip in Southern Thailand.  For captions, please view the set at my actual Flickr page.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Just for Fun, Personal, Thailand | 2 Comments

What’s Coming Up

This time around, I’m letting you all know ahead of time that I won’t be blogging much over the next couple of weeks. Nope, probably not even a Tasty Tuesday. I know, I’m sad, too.  But, don’t worry, I will be back – and whenever I do have internet available, I will be in touch!

So, why will we be lacking in blog love for a little while?

2010 has already held a lot for Brook and I, though it has only been a few weeks, and it surely will not slow down for the next couple of months. Let me give you a brief rundown, so you have an idea of where we are, what we’re up to, and just how you can pray for us. Ready? Let’s go.

  • Jan 17-19 – Beginning with this weekend, we fly to Penang, Malaysia to pick up Brook’s official RA Long-term Visa for Thailand.  The process of getting an RA (Religious Affairs) Visa is quite lengthy, and we are quite lucky to have gotten ours so soon (6 months in the making), just in time for our current visas to expire. RA Visas must be retrieved in a neighboring country, and we must be there for at least 2 business days in order to accommodate for final processing. Once Brook has his visa, we will return to Bangkok and apply for a work permit, which can take up to 3 more months of processing to receive. Then, after we have his work permit, we will be able to purchase a vehicle on our own and, most importantly, I will ride on Brook’s visa from here on out.  This means no more trips to the border every 90 days to renew my multiple-entry visa. Brook will only need to renew it once a year, and will not be required to leave the country to do so.  Having already registered and certified our marriage certificate with the US Embassy in Bangkok, my visa will be automatically renewed under his ticket.  Praise God this came through at just the right time!
  • Jan 20 – 27 – Once we return to Thailand, it’s time for us to take our annual leave.  After 4 months of intense travelling and speaking in the States, saying our good-byes, packing up and giving away our lives, moving across the globe, and spending the last 5 and 1/2 months of our time in daily language study, schooling, ministry events, scouting trips, and all-around adjustment to a new life overseas, it’s time for a break.  Before coming to Thailand, I read through the manuals and agreements put forth by the organization we are working with (OMF International), and I discovered that they allow 2 weeks of rest every 6 months or so for their missionaries.  At first, I thought that seemed a bit much, but after being on the field and dealing with the stresses of every day life, I now understand why they give this gift to their workers.  It’s important to remind ourselves that we are still human, and we need to take time to recharge ourselves if we want to remain and create a lasting place where ministry can happen.  So, that’s what we’re doing.  We’ll take a week to head south, refresh, recharge, and come back ready to tackle our last few months of language study.  Praise God for an organization that seeks to care for its workers and see them flourish in both life and ministry!
  • Feb 2-3 – Shortly after returning from our period of rest, we have a conference for the workers of Central Thailand.  We will take these days to worship, celebrate, and pray together for all of Central Thailand, its people, and its workers.  The conference will be held not too far north of our current city of Lopburi.
  • Feb 15 – March 14 – It’s time for us to head to the OMF International Headquarters in Singapore.  Prior to reaching the field, each new missionary is supposed to spend one month at the Int’l HQ for what is referred to as OMF’s Orientation Course (or OC, as it is better known).  The time spent in OC is meant to help bridge the gap between leaving one’s life in their home country and transitioning to a new life overseas.  There are seminars on language learning, cultural adjustment, member care, medical care, self-assesments, getting to know the staff at HQ, among much else.  Since we were somewhat fast-tracked in our process of getting to Thailand, we were allowed to skip out on this event prior to reaching the field, with the agreement that we would attend at a later date – February.  We are hoping to use this month to reflect on our time in Thailand thus far, get to know more of the OMF International staff, as well as learn more about how to make this missionary life last for the long haul.

Upon returning to Lopburi March 15th, we will resume full-time language study, with plans to be finished by the end of June.  After completing our first year of study, it will then be time for us to move on to another location for our first term in ministry.  As of now, we are exploring some options in the capital city of Bangkok, but we have nothing nailed down yet.  We plan to use our final months in Lopburi to continue examining and praying about which location would be best for us, and move on from there.

As you can see, we have a lot going on!  Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support as we’ve started this journey here in Thailand.  We are so grateful that you have decided to come along with us and have taken an interest in our lives.  As we go through these busy weeks and months ahead, please pray for our safety in travel, adequate refreshment, and clarity as we try to figure out what our next steps should be.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Newsletters, Thailand | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grace & Charm

Nobody can take a fall better than this girl right here, that’s for sure.  You see, growing up, I spent my fair share of time in the hospital’s emergency room getting stitches, mending broken bones, and nursing concussions.  After all those quick, uninvited encounters with the ground, you bet I learned how to throw my body in mid-air so as to land in a way that creates the least impact!  It’s not that I got in fights or was an insatiable daredevil or anything, I’ve just always seemed to lack the grace & charm necessary to keep oneself intact at all times.

Today was evidence of that.

chiangmairestaurantwg6

We had just received our meals at a local street vendor’s shop (similar to the photo above, but with more tables).  Having frequented this particular location over the past 5 months, the owners usually know what we would like to order before we even say it.  We are familiar with one another, and each time we appear, we try to speak with them in Thai just a little bit more.  Today was a day just like any other – walk in, smile, greet one another, and confirm their suspicion as to what we would like to eat.  Next, we chose one of two regular tables, sat down and ordered our beverages.  Wait another 5 minutes or so, and our plates with a piping hot Thai meal are served to us with the traditional bowl of broth and cilantro.  Yum.  But wait, they forgot the sauce… that’s ok, because there’s usually a bottle on the table right behind us.  Scoot the stool back a couple of inches, turn around, reach and grab the bottle.  Proceed to deliver it to Brook, and all is well.

That’s how it usually happens.  But, today?  Oh, today!

2009070916553647This is what I was sitting on, as I do in almost every single street shop or market stall we dine at (though mine was actually royal blue, and lacked those spiffy horizontal reinforcement bars).  Usually, they do their job in keeping one seated at the table, rather than under it, but today my stool failed me.  As I scooted ever so gently backwards, everything went wrong.  You know how people sometimes say that disasters seem to happen in slow motion?  Well, this disaster actually did, and there was nothing at all I could do about it!  As I scooted, the back 2 legs of this rickety old seat buckled inward beneath me, causing me to go straight down to the floor – thankfully, since they bent, I didn’t go totally backwards though!  I felt them bending, could tell I was going down, and was utterly helpless as I watched Brook’s face go into a sudden half shock – half laugh sort of look.

The bustling shop went silent.

So, what does this taller-than-the-average-Thai, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned foreigner dressed in a flowing black skirt and beads do in such a situation (not to mention in a very face-saving culture)?  Stand up quickly, silently, and gracefully (of course to compensate for the lack of earlier charm).  Then proceed to quickly brush off my skirt, turn around to face the people, put up my hands and say “whoopsie” to release them all to laugh freely.  And they did.  One of the ladies that worked there came and took my old stool to the back of the shop, supplying me with a new one so I could return to my meal safely.

And what do I find Brook doing as I finally collect myself once more and take my seat?  Typing on his iPhone.  Yep, he was tweeting about his wife, the one who is a master at being inconspicuous.  Oh wait.

I couldn’t help but continue laughing as I ate my lunch as I thought about how every person in there would likely go home tonight and tell everyone about the “farang” who fell out of her chair reaching for the chili sauce on another table.

January 13, 2010 Posted by | Just for Fun, Personal, Thailand | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tasty Tuesday – Green Mangoes

mamuang plate 1This week’s feature – fresh, tropical mango.  But not just any mango, nor any kind you’ve probably ever had.  Nope.  These ones are green!

As many of you may already be aware, tropical fruit in about every form always tastes better when you eat it fresh.  Well, isn’t what I buy in the store fresh… after all, it is in the produce section of my grocery store?  Yes, the pineapple, bananas, mangoes, and papayas you buy at home in the States is technically fresh, but – yes, there is always a but – it was most likely picked before its prime, compensating for the time it will spend ripening in transit to you.  Sorry to burst that bubble, but no, your tropical fruit is not as fresh, juicy, and delectable as it truly should be.  (Unless you live in Hawaii or Florida or something, but I don’t think any of you do!)

I have never eaten so much pineapple in my life as I do when I am in Thailand.  Bananas?  Oh, there’s like 10 different kinds to choose from on a daily basis.  Dragon fruit, pomelo, lychee, and pomegranate, please.  Not to mention all the other fruits around here.  So juicy, so flavorful, so refreshing.  Bottom line – tropical fruit tastes a million times better when you’re in the tropics.  Kinda makes sense, huh?

Now, back to the mangoes.

mangoThis is the type of mango you are probably used to seeing at your local supermarket back in the States.  It has red, orange, yellow (or a mixture of the three) flesh on the outside, and a brightly hued interior.  They have a large lima bean-shaped seed in the center and smell rather sweet when being cut.  Do you like this type of mango?  I sure do.

Not only do we have this type of mango in Thailand (which is quite lovely paired with rice and coconut milk in a chilled bowl… mmmm), but we also have a green variety as well.  If you take a quick look at the slices on my plate at the beginning of this post, you may already guess that the green mango is a bit stiffer than your regular yellow variety.  This would be because the green variety has less water content than yellow mango, and is not as sweet.  Green mangoes have more of a snap, similar to the texture of jicama or a thin sliced raw potato.  Depending on when the mangoes are picked, they may be either slightly sour and bendy (left side of the plate), or rather bland and crisp (right side).

mamuang saltGreen mangoes are also not eaten alone.  The most common dip for any fruit, from pineapple to strawberries to guava, is a mixture of salt, sugar, and finely mashed chili peppers.  Have you ever put salt on your watermelon?  It just seems to make the flavor pop a little bit more.  This is because, as I have been told, the salt helps to reduce the acidity of the fruit you are eating, allowing its sweetness and other flavors to shine through.  The sugar gives it some balance, and the chili is a fun little kick!  (Although, depending on the vendor, the dip can be a bit too salty and overpower any identity the fruit had to start with – so, be careful, as not all dips are created equal.)

mamuang shrimp sauceAnother way to eat your green mango is with a dip I do not yet know the name of.  I do know, however, that I will not ever willingly consume it again.  It has to be an acquired taste, because I don’t know how else anyone could ever eat it.  Upon first glance, this saucy dip appears to be some sort of sweet, cooked down version of brown sugar.  Sounds delicious, right?  I thought so, too… until I got a little bit closer.  Those small rounded bits you see in the bowl are actually the same tiny dried shrimps you find in other common Thai dishes.  Roughly the size of your thumbnail, they are usually not too threatening.  In this dip though, they are about enough to send me running.  Ha!  I was correct in my initial observation about the sauce being brown or palm sugar based, but when cooked with fish sauce and these tiny dried wonders, it becomes a thick, salty, fishy paste.  Hey, some people may like it, and that’s great for them.  It’s just not my cup of tea.

So, there you have it.  Another Tasty Tuesday, and another thing learned about what we eat here in Thailand.

What kinds of tropical fruit have you tried, and what is your favorite?

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Tasty Tuesdays, Thailand | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tasty Tuesdays – Thai Desserts

custard-pumpkin-3Today’s featured Thai food is a dessert of custard and pumpkin.

The first time we lived in Thailand (back in 2005), I had seen this particular dish in the market many times, but as no one had ever invited me to taste it, I never did.  This time around, while at a new Thai friend’s home, this is what she offered for dessert after giving me some Thai cooking lessons.

This dessert has 2 very important elements, that must be eaten together in order get the full flavor of the dessert.  If eaten separately, the result is rather simple and bland.  We’ll start with the outside of this dessert – the pumpkin.  Now, you’ve probably already noticed that this pumpkin looks strange compared to what you usually find lurking around the States in autumn.  This is actually a Japanese variety, called the Kabocha squash.  It’s flavor is quite similar to that of the American orange pumpkins and sweet potato, but with less water content.  This is what we used for our Thanksgiving pies this year, adding a few drops of coloring to make them look a little bit more like home.

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The other element of this dessert is the custard.  It is a simple, coconut-based custard, which eaten on its own may lack much interest in flavor.  It features coconut milk, as many Thai dishes do, as well as vanilla, eggs, and palm sugar.  I have had it with cinnamon, as well as cardamom.  Both are delightful.

Once the custard is made, it is poured into a cleaned Kabocha, and steamed for 45 minutes to an hour.  It is the steaming process that not only softens the flesh of the squash, but also allows the custard to leak some of its flavor into the Kabocha as it cooks inside.  Once fully cooked, it is best to allow it to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.  If serving slightly warm, vanilla or coconut ice cream are a nice accompaniment.  You can also chill the whole squash, then slice and serve it cold.  Either way, it tastes great – just be sure to eat each bite with both custard and squash in order to get the full effect!  Trust me, it’s better that way.

If you would like to learn how to make this recipe for yourself, click here for the recipe, as well as an instructional video (also containing suitable American ingredient substitutions).  Enjoy!

January 5, 2010 Posted by | Food, Tasty Tuesdays, Thailand | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Decade in Review

As the New Year finally arrived in the States, I noticed a trend among fellow tweeters (for those confused, friends who use the networking application “Twitter”) using a tag stating “#tenyearsagotoday.”  I decided to join in the fun, and I was a bit shocked when I recalled what I was doing at the beginning of the last decade, in the year 2000.  Want to know what it was?  I was counting all of the money I had made by babysitting for 2 separate families (one in the early evening for a dinner party, one through the rest of the night til wee hours of the next morning), so the parents could go to their wild Y2K parties.  As a 15 year-old girl, I sure raked in a lot of cash that night, seeing as the parents all offered me (I didn’t ask for it, I swear!) a premium wage for missing out on celebrations of my own.  It seems so strange to think that was all so long ago…

It’s even more peculiar to realize that I am now old enough to clearly remember things that have happened a whole decade ago… and even before!  Sure, working at an elementary school for the past 3 years has made me have plenty of “am I really that old now?” moments, listening to the kids talk and then telling them my own stories of when I was their age.  Growing up sure is a strange animal, and it’s had its clear ups and even clearer downs.  But, I don’t believe I would give any of it away.

As I sit here thinking of all that has occurred in the past 10 years, it amazes me.  There’s been a lot –

  1. I lost my Father in April of 2000.
  2. I stood in my brother’s wedding.
  3. I graduated from high school.
  4. I played collegiate soccer.
  5. I went overseas for the first time, and rang in the New Year 2004 while on a mission trip in Ghana, West Africa.
  6. I held my nephew for the very first time.
  7. I lived on my own for 2 months in war-torn Liberia, West Africa.
  8. I spent 6 1/2 months living and studying in Thailand.
  9. I graduated from Huntington University.
  10. I got married.
  11. I held my niece for the very first time.
  12. I got my first car (it’s true, I never had one before getting married!).
  13. I had my first full-time job (plus a few part-timers).
  14. I had my first puppy… and was devastated giving her away when we moved.
  15. I did all kinds of renovations on my first home with Brook.
  16. We designed & renovated half of an entire church building, then launched KidStuf for the first time ever at our church.
  17. I went on my first cruise.
  18. I’ve met TONS of people through speaking in churches and building up a team of supporters for Thailand.
  19. I moved to the opposite side of the globe – Thailand.
  20. We’ve dealt with the pain of not being there for Brook’s first niece being born.
  21. I’ve learned to speak, read, & write a completely new language.
  22. We had our first Christmas & New Year’s away from loved ones.

I know there are so many more things, and if you know me well, you already know what they are.  These are just some of the big things that first come to mind as I look back at the last decade, and wonder what all will come next.

So, what will the next stretch hold for Brook & I?  Well, the plan is to be in Thailand for 10 years, and we’ve only got about 5 months of that knocked out so far.  But, what else will there be?  New cities, new faces, new ministries, new family members, new believers, trips back home, all kinds of good, and surely rough times as well.  It may seem a bit overwhelming right now to think of what our lives will do and where they will go, but I’m very thankful to have Brook by my side, loving family back home, and the support of friends who care about us.

Do you have any hopes or dreams for the next decade?

January 2, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What a blur!

Wow, has it been that long already? The last few weeks have been quite the blur, with the holiday season kicking into full gear. I’m sure it has been the same for you out there reading this, right? The Christmas season sure does have its way of sneaking up on us, then rattling our brains, emotions, and busy schedules in a such a way that it all seems like a blur. Well, the same is true for us here – but, just a little bit different.

In the country of Thailand, Christmas is not an actual celebrated holiday. Being that this is a primarily Buddhist nation, Christmas really has no place in their way of life. It’s just another work day.  However, as we’ve come to know from living in the Thai culture, any reason to celebrate will be welcomed by all! This has lead to the incorporation of otherwise inherently Western holidays into primarily large city culture, as well as some other outlying areas. Due to the larger volume of foreigners in places like the Bangkok region, it is not uncommon to see hotels, store chains, and super-malls embracing holidays like Halloween, American Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter… and, although their decorations may be the same, and special foods and meals are featured to be similar to home, there’s still something missing. It seems all that has been imported is the commercial side of each holiday – crazy costumes & candies, turkeys & bread, Santa & his reindeer, and the Easter Bunny. (Still sounds a bit like home though, hmm? Think about that for a while…)

In addition to the weather still feeling like the heat in August back in the Midwest, the presence of family gatherings and solemn reflection that we are so often used to experiencing back home aren’t there. Speaking exclusively about the season we’ve just come out of, the Thai Christians do not see the Christmas season as a time to celebrate with family, host special meals or traditions, or even reflect on the past year and what it held for them. Nope. This is prime time for evangelism! So, the busyness of our season here comes not from preparing meals, buying gifts, and travelling to the homes of loved ones – our busyness come from reaching out to the community and presenting special programs in the public schools. Yes, I said the public schools!

outreach 1

It seems everyone is curious about this “Western holiday” of Christmas, and teachers love to have foreigners come and explain just what it is to their students.  And, as an added bonus, we are also native English speakers – the school is able to provide the children with the opportunity to practice their language skills with real, live foreigners.  What an opportunity!  We were able to go into these assemblies (usually 3 rounds in each school, by age groups) and teach students about the real meaning of Christmas, no problem whatsoever.  There was the story of Jesus’ birth leading into a basic Gospel, testimonies from missionaries about how they celebrate Christmas with their own families back home and what Christ means to them, among so much else.  In an effort to not come off as only religious teachers, we also incorporated games and songs in order to aid the children in their English comprehension.  We were able to present our message, as well as provide the teachers with what they wanted for their students – English exposure and an explanation of a holiday quite foreign in their own culture.  These photos are only from the first event we were a part of, but there were many more to follow – even one this week, after Christmas had already passed!  Praise God for such a wonderful chance to get out there and teach the children (and their teachers as well!) when they are most curious!

brook w tree kids

We split kids into groups, where they chose 3 of their own to stand and be turned into a Christmas tree! They had 15 minutes, an abundance of newspaper & tape, and one of us to help in each group.

My group of girls in our last session decided it would be much more efficient if they stuck to decorating and wrapping their fellow students, as I dispensed scotch tape during the Christmas tree contest.

My group of girls decided it would be much more efficient if they stuck to decorating and wrapping their fellow students, as I dispensed scotch tape during the Christmas tree contest.

At one point, Brook dressed up as Santa and had a very important discussion with our Thai emcee about who the real star of Christmas should be.  I think he's the skinniest Santa I've ever met!  ;)

At one point, Brook dressed up as Santa and had a very important 'discussion,' on stage, with our Thai emcee about who the real star of Christmas should be. Have you ever seen a skinny Santa? 😉

We used songs and games to help students practice their English.  Boy, was that a lot of fun!

We used songs and games to help students practice their English. Boy, was that a lot of fun!

What kept you busy during your holiday season this year?

January 1, 2010 Posted by | Thailand | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments